Catonsville school site appeals to Baltimore County arts group

Catonsville school site appeals to Baltimore County arts group
The Baltimore County Arts Guild is campaigning to move from its location in Arbutus to the present site of Catonsville Elementary School on Frederick Road after the school moves into its new home on Bloomsbury Avenue next fall. (File photo by Brian Krista)

The Baltimore County Arts Guild is continuing its drive this fall to support the organization's plan to move into the Frederick Road space currently occupied by Catonsville Elementary School.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the group will host a community meeting at the Historic Catonsville Clubhouse, at 10 Saint Timothy's Lane, where the public is welcome to ask guild members and advocates any questions they may have about the group or its future plans.


On Oct. 10, the guild will host its second annual Arts-Agstravaganza at the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council, 1114 Shawan Road, in Cockeysville.

The Baltimore County Arts Guild currently occupies space above the Northwest Savings Bank, at 1101 Maiden Choice Lane in Arbutus, where artists can rent studio space to work and the community can stay connected to the local arts scene by attending meets or special events held at the gallery, called The Gallery @ 1101.

In the spring, the guild launched an effort to take over the Catonsville Elementary space after the school vacates the building at the end of the current school year.

Members of the guild have not decided whether they would leave the Maiden Choice space in favor of the Catonsville Elementary site or if they would operate two locations.

In a March letter from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, the group was told that the county would consider allowing them to share the space with the parks and recreation department if the guild could raise about $9 million to help cover the costs of renovations necessary to keep the building open.

So far, guild organizer Marilyn Maitland said, the group has raised a lot of support and a substantial amount of funds.

But, she said, there is a lot more work to be done before they can claim the building, which was built in 1910, according to Baltimore County Public Schools.

Over the past couple months, the guild has held a number of events in the Catonsville area in an effort, Maitland said, to familiarize the community with the group and get the word out about the group's plan.

"It's just another opportunity to give the community an opportunity to hear us and us to hear them," Maitland said. "Certainly we need to keep our eye on the ball."

The guild has been very present in the Catonsville community since it officially launched its mission to take over the elementary school building in the spring, said Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce.

At last month's Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival, the guild used its space to get the word out to area residents as well as guests from other parts of the county about the guild's mission and its plans for the future, she said.

"I certainly think it's a good idea," Cary said. But, she added, the push to raise that kind of money takes a lot of work and energy.

Many of the chamber's members would love to see the school used for a community arts space, Cary said.

"I know it's getting some interest for sure," she said.